Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference

The Department of Housing and Community Development presents the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The event is made possible by a partnership with Northern Stage, Preservation Trust of Vermont, and the Town of Hartford.  The conference will highlight White River Junction's successful revival by bringing new housing, businesses, and jobs downtown. This year’s conference features nationally recognized keynote speaker Joe Minicozzi, who has done the math that proves investing in downtowns not only improves our quality of life and economy, but saves taxpayer dollars.  In addition to the conference sessions and tours, we are providing ample time to network and a reception immediately following the conference.  Registration includes a full day of sessions and tours, light breakfast, lunch, and appetizers at the reception. 

Commissioner Katie Buckley, Department of Housing and Community Development
Richard Grassi, Hartford Selectboard
Eric Bunge, Northern Stage
Paul Bruhn, Preservation Trust of Vermont
Secretary Michael Schirling, Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Governor Phil Scott

Keynote :  The Dollars and $ense of Land Use* [Part 1 and Part 2]
Joe MincozziUrban3

Few communities consider the important role that tax policy and the market play in land use planning, zoning, placemaking and capital improvement planning. Joe will change the way you think about the cost of development with case studies that show how the market and tax revenue effect various land use patterns and how they stack up against traditional downtown districts.  


10:30am - Noon

  • Zoning:  Getting it Right for Your Town*:  We all want thriving, prosperous communities, but outdated regulations create barriers and can even prohibit the types of development needed to revitalize our downtowns and villages. This session examines what’s working, what’s not, and lessons learned on what Vermont communities can do to align their regulations to support the types of development needed to create great places for people to live, work, visit, shop and play.
    Joe Minicozzi, Urban 3   /   Paul Conner, City of South Burlington
    John Adams, Vermont Center for Geographic Information

  • New Building Design in Downtowns**:   While preserving our authentic downtowns and village centers, we must also embrace change. This session will examine several examples of how sensitive rehabilitation and new design can complement historic architecture to create new opportunities for housing and business.
    Project highlights include: the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction; the Kowalski House and Annex on the campus of Vermont Studio Center in Johnson; and The Village at White River Junction.
    Jim Pulver, Bread Loaf Corporation   /   Denise Welch-May, White River Junction Design Review Committee
    Milford Cushman, Cushman Design Group  
  • Stimulating the Local Economy Through Arts and Culture:   Vermont’s vibrant arts and culture scene makes communities fun and unique, and attracts Vermonters and visitors alike. This session will show how increased arts and cultural programing not only boosts our well-being, but provides an economic catalyst for downtown and village center business.
    Michelle Ollie, Center for Cartoon Studies   /   Eric Bunge, Northern Stage   /   Jody Fried, Catamount Arts
    Peter Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council

1:00pm - 2:30pm

  • How to Tell Your Story with Data*:  In this session, you will learn more about Urban3’s approach to downtown revitalization and how they use data to communicate. Get a look ‘under the hood’ and learn about the tools, data visualization and story-telling techniques that help communities large and small make their point.
    Joe Minicozzi, Urban 3
  • Vermont’s Landscape:  Shaped by Transportation Technology:  This session will examine the evolution of transportation, and explore the inherent tensions between competing visions for Vermont’s economy and how it ultimately played out on the land. It will conclude with a closer look at White River Junction, the poster child for reinvention and economic change at the nexus of water, road and rail routes.
    Frank J. Barrett, Barrett Architecture   /   Paul Searls, Lyndon State College 
  • Small Town Retail is On the Rise:   For years we’ve heard that the heyday of small town retail is over and nothing can be done about it. Learn about new retail trends and strategies that prove the pundits wrong and paint a bright future for Vermont’s small towns and retailers. Join us for a panel discussion that
    highlights how owners of a downtown bookstore, clothing shop, hardware store and grocery store have found a niche in their communities and have successfully managed online competition and big box development. 
    Kim Souza, Revolution   /   Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore   /   Ron Redmond, Church Street Marketplace
    ​Sarah Lafferty, The White Market   /   Gordon Winters, Swanton Lumber
  • The Resurgence of Downtown White River Junction:  Discover the rebirth of this village as it transitions from a once bustling railroad community to a regional center for businesses and the creative economy. See the adaptive use of a former bakery, freight house, Legion Hall and dry cleaners into housing, retail, offices, an event center, restaurants and art venues. Walk through the recently renovated, award winning, energy efficient Town Hall. Hear about the design process to integrate new design and development into this historic village.
    Town of Hartford staff and other local leaders will lead the tour.

3:00pm - 4:30pm

  • Placemaking with Complete Streets*:  A walkable and connected street network not only gets us where we need to go, but also drives economic development.  See how communities in Vermont are leveraging older and historic buildings, street networks and community and recreational facilities in town centers to
    attract investment and visitors. Learn what it takes to get people out of their cars and make Vermont’s downtowns and villages more walkable, bikeable and economically successful.
    Jon Kaplan, VTrans   /   Claire Tebbs, Addison County Regional Planning Commission   /   Kelly Stoddard-Poor, AARP
    Lisa Sacks-Warhol, Bethel Revitalization Initiative   /   Joshua Schwartz, Mad River Valley Planning District
  • Housing Solutions for Vermont Downtowns*:  Shifting household demographics have created an evolving housing market in Vermont, and getting communities to embrace multifamily housing is a challenge.  In this session, investigate new types of downtown housing opportunities and hear the developer’s perspective on strategies to make these projects successful. 
    Andrew Winter, Twin Pines Housing Trust   /   Maura Collins, Vermont Housing Finance Agency
    Cindy Reid, Cathedral Square   /   Tim Sidore, Ledgeworks
  • Establishing a Local Historic Preservation Program:  The strongest and most effective tools for historic preservation are established at the local level. The Certified Local Government program provides support and funding for local preservation commissions, but is it worth the effort to seek this designation?  In this session, learn about the benefits, the steps for certification and chat with the many communities that have already taken advantage of this program.
    Devin Colman, Division for Historic Preservation
  • Walking History Tour of White River Junction:  Hear stories that tell the history of this railroad village from the mid-1800s to the middle of the 20th century. Learn about the various local architectural styles and see how historic buildings have changed over time to accommodate new uses. The Boston and Main engine caboose, Hotel Coolidge, the former post office building, local churches and beautiful murals will all be featured on this tour.

        * AICP continuing education credits approved
        **AIA continuing education credits pending

Special Session Offered by Vermont Realtors:

Residential Building Energy Code: The Energy Code Class will be offered free to Vermont Realtors® and those wishing to learn more about the Residential Buildings Energy Standards in Vermont.  This class has 2 hrs of continuing education credits for real estate agents holding a Vermont license.  Agents must register for the free class in order to receive the CE certificate. To register for this session, please go to the Vermont Realtors web portal.

Contact Us

Gary Holloway, Downtown Program Coordinator

One National Life Drive
Deane C. Davis Building, 6th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-0501